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The streets and parks where I live in New York City are littered with acorns. Can I pick them up and cook them?

Is it safe? Are they any good? (Taste-wise, nutrition-wise.)

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    I have tasted different US acorns ( white and red oak types); they were so bitter that I had no interest in doing more. Sep 5 '19 at 20:06
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Acorns from which tree? Acorns from California live oak for instance are edible, but only after a painstaking process of grinding and soaking, without which they can kill you. European oaks have acorns that are more amenable to eating, but they really can't be eaten raw. And even the French don't as a rule eat them, which tells me they can't be that tasty :-)

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I was going to just post this as a comment, but I do think it's a valid concern…

Maybe if I lived out in the country… but I'm not thinking New York is going to have any less of a traffic pollution issue than London, where I am… & I'd be as inclined to eat a dead pigeon I found in the street as an acorn.

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    It's not just the air pollution. Many cities have residential neighborhoods and parks built on top of former industrial sites. Depending on the kind of industry, it's possible (or likely) that heavy metals, or toxic chemicals leached into the ground and are still present.
    – Juhasz
    Sep 5 '19 at 15:53
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I did this some years back. I have no idea if it’s safe or not. All I know is that I didn’t get sick. Raw it was pretty hard to eat and was bitter and dried out my mouth. Roasted it was still bitter but a little easier to chew.

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    Do you know which type of tree it was from? There are quite a few different trees that produce acorns. Thanks for the anecdote.
    – larry909
    Sep 5 '19 at 4:09
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    If you try it again, soaking them repeatedly is supposed to help. I keep meaning to try it as I get so many in my garden (European species)
    – Chris H
    Sep 5 '19 at 7:07
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Licor de bellota

Quercus Ilex acorns are used to make "Licor de bellota" (acorn liqueur) in Extremadura region of Spain.

Licor de bellota (Acorn Liqueur)

Acorn flour

In times of famine, it was produced flour to make bread (gluten free). There are some companies that are introducing acorn flour for artisan breads.

Bread from acorn flour

But mostly they are left on the ground for pig feeding.

These acorns are sweet, but most other acorns tend to be bitter and astringent.

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